CRAFTS Tool Talks

At regular meetings of CRAFTS, members enjoy learning from speakers who delve into their areas of expertise related to tools, traditional crafts, history and more. This page (under construction) will list upcoming and past presentations at our meetings, including links to each speaker's info available on the web, and reports written up in The Tool Shed subsequently. Current club members with user accounts on this website have access to digital versions of the most recent issues of The Tool Shed.


June 5, 2022: Steve Voigt on traditional wooden plane making. Exerpt from his website: "I started making planes in the late 1990s. At the time, I was a struggling grad student and part-time machinist, and making tools seemed like a sensible solution to the problem of wanting nice things but not being able to afford them. My earliest planes were laminated, 'Krenov-style' planes, but I was never really satisfied with that approach, so I began to research traditional British/American planes and plane making methods. At some point, I realized that just about all the problems in planemaking had been solved a couple centuries ago, and there was no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. 

"As luck would have it, my immersion into traditional planemaking coincided with a resurgence of interest among woodworkers in the use of double-iron planes. Most custom planemakers build single-iron planes, but I gradually became convinced that British-style double-iron planes of the type found in the Seaton tool chest, ca. 1796, represented the peak of the planemakers art, at least as far as bench planes were concerned. Observing that no one was making these planes, I resolved to do something about the situation, and in August 2015 I founded Voigt Planes. Today, I build these traditional double-iron planes in my small shop in the Lehigh Valley. They are bespoke planes, made one at a time. I use a few basic power tools for rough dimensioning, but the vast majority of work is done by hand, much as it would have been 200 years ago."


Postponed: Michael J. Cuba on dendrochronology (tree ring dating) and its applied use for dating and interpreting historic structures. We will examine the principles of the science and the more recent developments of isotopic dendrochronology in the UK. Several case studies will be presented featuring local examples of dated structures along with some prominent projects from overseas. While this science can offer conclusive felling dates for timbers used in building, interpretation and context for this information relies on both documentary and physical evidence. Michael will use examples of recent reconstruction projects of the Dominy House, in East Hampton, NY, and the reconstruction of one of the trusses from the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral that was lost in a fire in 2019, to underscore the importance of documentation in preservation work.


February 6, 2022: No presentation scheduled. Only the regular tailgate sales and socializing in the parking lot.

November 7, 2021: Gary Elsing (member of CRAFTS) on leather working
See report in issue #206 (December 2021) of The Tool Shed on page 9. Gary's slide deck is available to CRAFTS members for viewing (in PDF format). Log in here and then click on "Presentations" under Membership in the menu.

Bruce Johnson Leather Tools website.
C.S. Osborne & Co. of Harrison NJ website.

February 2, 2020: Jeff Donat on grist mills
See report in issue #199 (March 2020) of The Tool Shed starting on page 10.

Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM) website.

November 3, 2019: James Shomper on surveying tools
See report in issue #198 (December 2019) of The Tool Shed starting on page 10.

Surveyors Historical Society website.
Virtual Museum of Surveying website.

June 2, 2019: Mark Worthington on gunsmithing
See report in issue #197 (September 2019) of The Tool Shed starting on page 10.


April 7, 2019: Glen Guarano on furniture design and making
See report in issue #196 (June 2019) of The Tool Shed starting on page 10.

Glen's business website and Instagram profile.

February 3, 2019: Marty Ridder on clocks and timekeeping
See report in issue #195 (March 2019) of The Tool Shed on page 11.

Marty retired from his business of clock repair in December 2020 but helpful information remains on his website.

November 4, 2018: John Porritt on Welsh stick chairs, love spoons and textiles
See report in issue #194 (December 2018) of the Tool Shed on page 9 (PDF).

Article by Christopher Schwarz about a visit to John's workshop, posted in April 2019.

June 3, 2018: Bob Amarant on turning wood
See report in issue #193 (September 2018) of the Tool Shed on page 11 (PDF).

Bob's YouTube channel.
New Jersey Woodturners Association website.